I started a new blog category for this Petaluma360 site related to “Emergency Preparedness” (EP) in September, 2006. Following disasters like Hurricane Katrina, it was obvious that when a major earthquake occurs along the Hayward – Rodgers Creek Fault Lines, many communities and rural areas will end up with residents who will shout, “We’re on our own! Help!”
Common sense indicates that the number of first-responders and emergency personnel would not be sufficient to serve all the calls for help, when needed. Longtime readers might remember that in EP #1-We Are Not Alone…EP-wise (9-7-2006), we quoted the Press Democrat editorial (8-27-2006) titled, Katrina Test – It will take another disaster to know if we learned the lesson: “In our private lives, we must make our own preparations, understanding that in the event of a major disaster, even the most efficient of public agencies may not be able to provide help for several days.”
Fast forward to the front page article (PD, 9-20-2012), “Sounding the fire alarm… Volunteer Shortage.” County Fire Chief Mark Aston stated that, “The Sonoma County Fire and Emergency Services Department has determined that 300 active volunteers would be necessary to insure its 15 rural, all-volunteer departments provide the desired level of safety and service recommended by the National Fire Protection Association.” The article continues to explain that only a couple of folks need to respond in the case of a medical emergency; however, a problem may happen in the event of a cliff rescue, structural fire, or wildfire, where a large number of personnel are required. Even with current mutual aid agreements, it is doubtful that a sufficient number of disaster workers would be available to respond in the event of a large area earthquake, flood, or wildfire. As many follow-up studies to Katrina reported: be prepared to be on your own for days or weeks.
BTW, on page F1 today, the PD (once again) posted one of its “Are you ready? Tips for disaster preparedness” features. (Build a Disaster Kit.) Other topics in this series include: How to turn off your gas meter, An evacuation plan from your house, Records to take with you in a disaster.
Bottom line: “Yoyo” = You’re on your own! or “Wooo” = We’re on our own!
Take your pick, either one is serious “food for thought”, and “action” by you.